Awards Circuit reached out to several of this year’s awards contenders and asked them to write the answer to the question, “What did 2017 films mean to me?”  Through the lens of actors, writers, filmmakers, and craftsmen and women, we will hear directly from the talent themselves and have them reflect on a year that has proven both successful and challenging.  

What 2017 Films Meant to Me
by Todd Lieberman (Producer of “Beauty and the Beast,” “Stronger,” and “Wonder“)

Every so often, filmmakers come upon a story that has the opportunity to help guide or influence “the conversation” around us. 2017 has been full of conversations and movies have appropriately obliged. Whether it’s a reminder about how fragile our free press is (“The Post“) or how fragile humanity is that is oftentimes preyed upon by that very same free press (“I, Tonya“).

Whether it’s recognizing the significance in giving the voiceless a voice (“The Shape Of Water“) or comprehending a voice that we never thought we wanted to hear (“My Friend Dahmer“), movies have always been a way for us to explore, understand and ideally, find our better selves. Diving headfirst into the vulnerability of the human condition and trying desperately to unlock what we’re doing here and how we interact with each other is our constant quest. In a world that seems increasingly more divided, the storytelling of films gives us all a chance to unite. Laugh together, explore together, cry together and question together.

Movies allow us into worlds we never knew existed (“Wind River” and “The Florida Project“), shepherding us in as visitors to these newly discovered territories. Deeply exploring others so different than ourselves, we are brought together to recognize the distinct and profound similarities.

Movies allow us to revel in the emotional joys of success. A large-scale story of significant historical success (“Dunkirk“) vs a very intimate story of redefining what a success actually is (“The Disaster Artist“).

Movies hold a mirror up to us, reflecting an image back – asking for a future interpretation of who we are at that very moment. Captured in time, those images will forevermore showcase who we thought we were. 2017 has been no different. This has been a year full of conversations and so many films that aid in those discussions.

When I think of 2017, I think of a soundbite world. A binary existence where there is good and bad. Right and wrong. And while we know that life is more complex than that, we gravitate toward the easy digestion of a headline, the natural inclination toward rage from a short tweet and the gravitational pull towards news and people that we already agree with. Movies can provide a little more color than ones and zeros and when I think of the year in films, I think many accomplished this very thing. I was entertained, challenged, moved and uplifted.

When I reflect on 2017 as it relates to the films we released, the idea of Beauty (and the Beast), strength (“Stronger”) and “Wonder” surface not only as film titles, or films I’m especially proud of but as ideals to remind myself of as I continue filmmaking. I know that while 2018 will bring us entirely new titles, our struggles and victories will continue to unfold in front of us and that the films will capture it all, marking a distinct time and place. My continued hope is that those conversations will expand, alter, and shape the way that we coexist.

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